Republicans And Democrats Differ On Evolution

19 Aug

The GOP candidates’ views on evolution are troubling, but not surprising. Here’s Gallup’s latest poll on Republicans, Democrats, and Independents more broadly:

15 Responses to “Republicans And Democrats Differ On Evolution”

  1. Joe H. August 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    A point should be made that the GOP responses are not a result or “stupidity” or a lack of education, but rather cultural choices. That choice is that they have chosen that their devotion to their faith and the exact written word of their religion trumps any intellectual challenge they face.

    I only say this because many look at these studies with the attitude of “What the F&$k is wrong with these idiots?!” That’s the wrong question, because nothing is wrong with them, other than the fact that our culture has made them feel that the aspects of their identity most critical to their self-worth (like religion) are somehow incompatible with science.

    • Sheril Kirshenbaum August 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

      Yes, whether or not someone believes in evolution is not reflective of his or her intelligence. However, when it comes to decision-making, the value placed on science and education matters tremendously for all of us.

      • razib August 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

        whether or not someone believes in evolution is not reflective of his or her intelligence.

        there is a modest correlation with intelligence. though i agree the primary variable is cultural.

  2. Luis Pedro Coelho August 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    The differences aren’t even that great.

    Only 17% of Dems and 19% of Indeps think that God had nothing to do with it. Yes, it’s much more than 4%, but not a huge number.

  3. Tracy Potter August 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    I completely disagree with your tolerance of those who would choose faith over facts. Being ignorant is not stupid. But once having been exposed to information, if one choses to ignore the facts, or lacks critical thinking skills to process mythology v. science, then that one is stupid. This is one of the most frightening polls I’ve ever seen. By the way, somewhat apropos of this subject, my mother became a Presbyterian minister at age 65 and never had any trouble reconciling her faith in a loving God and evolution.

    • Joe H. August 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

      Well, you’re entitled to that opinion, and it’s a common one among scientists. I disagree, however, that cognitive dissonance makes someone stupid. The climate debate has proven beyond a doubt that very intelligent people can simply refuse to accept knowledge. That may be ignorant, but it is not “stupid”. They are actually butressed by their education and intelligence to be even more firm in their beliefs.

      Maybe we’d be better off trying to get those in the right column into the left instead of demanding that the whole world go into the middle and getting nowhere?

      • Hao Ye August 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

        I agree with Joe. Even people who are aware of their own cognitive dissonance can choose to ignore “factual” information for social (fitting in with the community) or emotional (faith-based hope/optimism) reasons.

        I also think there are biases in the information one chooses to believe as factual, depending on source, message, and one’s own preference for different levels of cognitive dissonance.

        • Tracy Potter August 19, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

          Zero tolerance. You may shift the debate from stupid to evil, but anyone who chooses conformity or emotional candy over truth is one or the other.

    • george.w August 23, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

      I’m sorry, intentional stupidity seems worse to me than unintentional. “Wrong on purpose” is still wrong… but with purpose.

    • John August 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      Most Physical Geologists when asked will honestly tell you that there is no proof of Macro Evolution as it cannot be replicated in the lab, nor are there any witnesses, so that is why it remains a theory. Famed Anthropologist Margaret Mead went further stating there is still “not one iota” of physical evidence for evolution. Still some, I would rather say ininformed, people speak of it as science. Micro Evolution is science as it can be replicated and witnessed. The arguement should be whether “theories” should be taught in public school. Personally, I think there are more important issues for science to spend their time and efforts on.

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